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The Boots Of War

April 2024
1min read

The footwear of fighting men fills the aisles of R. C. Lorenz’s Fremont, Ohio, shoe-repair shop. The proprietor’s daughter-in-law, Bea Lorenz, sent us this World War II-era photo, explaining, “My husband’s father had the contract to repair the shoes of soldiers stationed at Camp Perry, near Port Clinton, Ohio. The shoes, two hundred pair or more a week, were delivered in duffel bags. They were fastened in pairs for obvious reasons and had to be worked on that way. Each pair required new soles and heels.

“Owning a store was quite an accomplishment considering that my father-in-law’s education didn’t go beyond the second grade. As the oldest of five children, he left school to help support the family and learned the trade by apprenticing himself to several shoemakers in the area. Then came World War I, and he left for the Army. After the armistice he returned to Fremont and opened his own shop, which grew so successful that at one point he had sixteen employees.”

And when war came again, he was ready for the greatest challenge a shoemaker could ever face.

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